Growth Mindset…Meet Ed-Tech…You two should be very happy together!

growthmindsetEver since Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success came out in 2006, terms like fixed and growth mindsets are now buzzwords in education. However, according to Dweck, parents and teachers often misuse growth mindset research, failing to instill the mentality most conducive to students’ success.

Based on decades of research on achievement and success, Dr. Dweck explained mindset in the following way. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships

Dweck also explains how the term growth mindset has been conflated with another buzzword: grit. Encouragement to simply try harder isn’t productive, according to Dweck. What’s essential is cultivating problem solving and critical analysis skills that help students to think smarter and then passionately capitalize on those abilities.

As an educator, you may be hearing a lot about grit these days—and with good reason. Studies show that kids who demonstrate grit persist at hard tasks and outperform their competitors. Grit is a critical strength of most people who are successful. It is especially complex because it is related to other skills such as optimism, purpose, growth mindset, bravery, and even self-control. There are a lot of misconceptions about grit. Grit is much more than just encouraging kids to “try harder” or not give up—it’s also about helping kids find their passion. Having grit does not mean never quitting—it means quitting responsibly and sticking to the things to which you are truly dedicated.

In this sense, cultivating a growth mindset and grit involves more than a shift in attitude; it involves developing the right tools and strategies to make that shift tenable for any teacher. This is where Ed-Tech can play a valuable role in changing students’ attitude toward education, supporting the development of those critical thinking competencies, and engaging students in their learning journeys.

Shift Focus from GPA

Comparing students’ GPAs is an antiquated evaluation system. Because an A doesn’t mean the same thing from school to school, or from region to region, universities often need some very complicated leveling metric to compare applicants. Given that the Common Core is based on skills acquired, couldn’t evaluation mirror those standards?  And would we need standardized testing if evaluation and instruction became the feedback loop they should be?

Tap into Actionable Data

From my experiences as a high school and college writing tutor, the thing that separates a great tutor from a good tutor is the ability to identify exactly what challenge a student is facing for the given problem. It’s a level of understanding that comes with experience, and this capacity can accelerate learning in ways that might seem impossible in a classroom of 25 or more students. With technology, we have the potential to aggregate user experience in ways that can expedite insights that are specific and actionable, empowering teachers to cut to the chase when working with students who often lack the conceptual context to articulate what’s stumping them in the first place.

Rethink Student Feedback

At LiveText, we have worked closely with faculty and administrators to learn firsthand the importance of feedback on student performance. When students receive immediate and ongoing feedback over a term in any given subject, which is possible with technology today, there is a significant boost in engagement and participation which can lead to a shift in mindset.